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Ranking Houston's startup ecosystem, launch of new platform for entrepreneurs, and other trending innovation news

Ranking Houston's startup ecosystem, launch of new platform for entrepreneurs, and other trending innovation news


Editor's note: Here's a roundup of the most-read Houston innovation stories this week. Featured Houston tech and startup stories from InnovationMap and its daily newsletter include a report ranking Houston's innovative qualities and a new group of student startups.

Report: Houston takes first place in ranking of world's top startup ecosystems for 2024

The Bayou City has made progress in international rankings of startup ecosystems. Photo via Getty Images

Houston is thriving in the startup world.

The city rose to 48th on StartupBlinks' list of the world's top startup ecosystems for 2024, four spots higher than Houston's 52nd place ranking on the 2023 list. StartupBlink is an economic research platform.

The Greater Houston Partnership recently noted the rise of Houston's startup ecosystem.

The Houston tech scene has made a lot of progress in recent years to lay the foundation for the growth of startups in any industry, from early-stage to late-stage, the partnership said. With numerous incubators coming online and a surge in venture capital funding, startups have more opportunities than ever to land and grow in Houston. Read more.

Rice Accelerator Announces Innovative Second Summer Cohort

The 12-week program received a record number of applications across degree programs on campus. Photo from

The Liu Idea Lab (Lilie) for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Rice University has selected eight teams for the second batch of its Lilie Summer Venture Studio.

The team focuses on a variety of innovative concepts ranging from healthcare solutions to running shoe design to automating recruiting through the NCAA transfer portal.

Rice University said it received a record number of applications for the 12-week program across all of the campus' degree offerings.

“We're thrilled by the level of interest and enthusiasm from Rice students for our burgeoning venture accelerator,” Lilly Executive Director Kyle Judah said in a statement. “The diversity and creativity of this year's applicants is truly inspiring, and we're excited to support these promising ventures by providing the resources and mentorship they need to reach escape velocity and create the next generation of pillars of Houston, Texas and the world.” Read more.

Houston entrepreneurial community builder teams up with startups to provide AI-powered founder tools

The Canon, a coworking community with locations across Houston, and nstAI, a newly launched suite of services for founders, have announced a new partnership. Photo courtesy of The Canon

A new Houston company has been founded to provide a new resource platform for entrepreneurs that uses artificial intelligence, and the startup already has its first partner.

The Cannon, a coworking community with locations across Houston, and nstAI, a newly launched suite of services for founders, have announced a new partnership.

The opportunity for Canon to partner with nstAI to provide value-driven services to growth-stage startups is tremendous for our community. “We're always looking for areas where we can support startups, no matter what stage they're at,” said Canon CEO John Lambert in a statement. Read more.

Houston-area universities annually rank among top universities for patent issuance

The University of Houston, along with several other Houston-area universities, ranked among the top 100 universities in the U.S. for patents. Photo credit:

The University of Houston System reigns as the patent king among Houston-area universities.

According to a new list from the National Academy of Inventors, the University of Hawaii was awarded 27 utility patents out of 100 accredited schools in 2023, tying for 63rd place. The university explains that utility patents are among the most valuable assets in the world because they give inventors exclusive commercial rights to produce and use their technology.

Other Houston-area universities on the list include Texas A&M University System, which tied for 30th place with 66 patents, and Rice University, which tied for 93rd place with 14 patents. Read more.

Texas organizations provide more than $40 million in grants for chemistry research in Houston and surrounding areas

The Welch Foundation announced on June 4 that it will award more than $40.5 million in academic research grants, equipment grants and fellowships. Photo via Getty Images

New funding has been announced from the Houston-based Welch Foundation, which funds chemistry research projects, and includes two local professors.

The two professors are:

Jacinta Conrad, the Frank M. Tiller Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Houston. Conrad will use the grant to study the glass transition, a temperature change that affects polymers, which she describes as one of the most intriguing unsolved problems in physical chemistry. James Shi, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at Rice University. Shi will use the grant to work on developments in theoretical chemistry.

Each year, the Foundation awards grants totaling at least $100,000 to support chemistry research conducted by full-time faculty at Texas universities, colleges and other educational institutions. Read more.




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